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Christie To Tour Facility For Disabled As He Pushes For Group Homes

Gov. Chris Christie at the Hilltop Group Home in Robbinsville - Mar. 7, 2013 (credit: Tim Larsen / Governor's Office)

Gov. Chris Christie at the Hilltop Group Home in Robbinsville – Mar. 7, 2013 (credit: Tim Larsen / Governor’s Office)

CBS New York (con't)

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ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will today tour The Arc, a facility for the developmentally disabled in North Brunswick, as he pushes to close institutions in favor of group homes.

Michelle Sherry’s 58-year-old sister Denise spent nearly three decades in institutions.

“It’s like a, I don’t want to say, a warehouse facility,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Jim Smith.

But the switch was made to a group home in Trenton 30 years ago, a decision Michelle said was a godsend.

“So it’s just like it’s her family. She lives with seven other girls that are considered like her sisters,” Michelle said. “She was just a number. Here, she’s a person and it’s her family. Totally different.”

She praised the one-on-one care along with the social and developmental activities.

“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said.

Christie is pushing his budget, which includes $42 million more for community based care.

“Shifting money towards this type of operation, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “This is what we’ve got to strive for.”

Closing some institutions doesn’t come without its critics, but Christie said he’s pushing forward.

What do you think of Christie’s strategy? Sound off below.